5 Ways to Use Inside Sales

Before we get into the meat, let’s understand the basics:

“Inside Sales people only sell remotely. Outside Sales people go out to prospects/customers to sell. An Inside Sales person’s main role is to sell to existing clients. They may also be expected to sell to new prospects if the company doesn’t have an Outside Sales team or this team needs help. They do not handle issues with current orders; that is Customer Service’s job. They should not be tying up all their time in order taking; that’s the job of an Order Entry person. If you have high volume orders from a customer, the Inside Sales person can handle the first one and then the ongoing orders and issues can be handled by Customer Service or Order Entry people.”

It’s pretty straightforward once you lay it all out. Everyone has a role in the sales process and supports each other. And yet, companies either don’t see the need for this role or don’t use their Inside Sales team effectively. Here are 5 ways to change that:

1. Support (or completely replace) the Outside Sales Team

It seems finding a solid Outside Sales person is harder and harder for companies to do. It’s a tough job and requires a certain kind of personality. Completely understandable. It is also a position that can be pricey for a company when they have to cover a base, commissions, travel costs, and other costs associated with doing business outside of the office. For many businesses it makes more sense to have an Inside Sales team that is more affordable supporting a much smaller Outside Sales team. In some cases, an Inside Sales team completely replaces Outside Sales team.

2. Handle Inbound Leads

This is a great task for an Inside Sales team. They are able to handle inbound leads from the company website, follow up on tradeshow leads the outside team gathers, incoming calls requesting more information, etc. This lessen the pressure on Outside Sales and Marketing allowing them to focus on their core work.

3. Marketing and Sales Campaign Support

This ties in with the point above and takes it a step further. For example, Marketing is sending out a promo piece in small batches to targeted clients each week. The Inside Sales team can follow up with the clients and determine if there are any opportunities they can either handle themselves or hand off to the assigned Outside Sales person. Another example, is a new product is going to be launched and a list of new prospects is created. This list is quite long and Outside Sales will not be able to realistically manage it all in a timely fashion. The Inside Sales team can assist by performing sales call campaigns to promote this new product offering along with Outside Sales.

4. Database Cleanup/Marketing Research

An outdated and dirty database is the bane of any company. It’s very common and the larger the database the more intimidating it seems to clean up. This is another huge advantage to having Inside Sales.

First determine if there is going to be a cut off. For example, if the database is large, any client that hasn’t been active and the record hasn’t been updated in 3 to 5 years, consider just deleting those records. Have the team go through the records quickly to determine if there are any duplicates and which ones they should keep. Do this in an Excel worksheet or paper printouts. They should not have the ability to delete records. Once this list has been looked over by management and the duplicates deleted by a person of authority THEN have the Inside Sales team work from the oldest record to the newest.

The main task is to confirm basic information – addresses, contacts, correct emails and phone numbers. Second, have them ask one or two market research or sales related questions while the contact is on the phone. Keep it short and keep it simple since they will most likely have many records to get through.

5. Customer Development – Maximizing the Amount of Business You Get From Each Customer

An Inside Salesperson can be assigned their own established customers and are responsible to contact them a certain amount of times per year. Align this with sales/marketing campaigns, promos, new offerings, etc. so the Inside Sale person always has something to offer. They can also include one or two marketing research related questions each time they call to further flesh out the account record.

If you need help setting up your Inside Sales or have more questions feel free to contact us!

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